As I left the elevator platform which had brought me and my squad as close as possible to the supposed area of operation, I almost stumbled and fell to the ground, only barely managing to stay standing thanks to my countless hours in other types of Heavy Armour.
The Heavy Armour I have been given, apparently the standard equipment of a Crane Agent, was quite different to my usual suite of armour. Not only was it heavier, both in weight and armour, but it was clearly designed with less mobility and more firepower in mind, and I instantly missed the nimble systems of my former Domaru armour. Luckily the added systems of the Crane Suite more than made up for that, to the point where I might actually end up preferring it in the end.
A X Visor in the helmed gave me a constant feed of distance measurements and in case I rose my gun so it’s firing arc was within my field of vision it also instantly calculated the current expected bullet trajectory, at least in a rough estimate since movement and weapon recoil would always affect the outcome a little.
The suite also had a mechanical tail which served not only as a sophisticated communication device which allowed for advanced communication and coordination of troops and with headquarters, but also was constantly connected to the Imperial Service Database. I was also told that with a little practice it was possible to control the mechanical tail with the same interface that also allowed for easier control of the heavy armour itself, which was interesting considering that the tail also had highly sharpened edges which allowed for it to be used as a melee weapon if need be.
Another nice feature of the suite was that it contained a pair of Nanopulsars which allowed for close range crowd control as well as forcing enemies out of cover or dealing with Optical Camouflaged units or their likes more easily.
Luckily the Imperial State Service’s rules for Officer Equipment wasn’t as strict as the Japanese Armies one, which allowed me to actually pick up one of those nice Spitfire rifles, which I have had quite a bit of training during my time as a line Domaru, but which I was never allowed to actually use during my time as a Commander afterwards.
Once I had adjusted my movement to the new heavy armour I comfortably strode onwards with my squad towards the designated area. It seemed like a couple of Thugs, Caledonian Mercenaries or something of that sort, were causing some trouble in a warehouse section of The Neon Dragon.
One of our Kanren had mentioned something about a broken Whiskey distribution Deal which caused the guests of a local Scottish style pub to go berserk, and since they apparently were heavily armoured and on their way to plunder or burn down one of the local warehouses it fell up to us to stop them before they actually reached said warehouse.
Sure enough one could already hear the group of them coming several blocks away, which was quite a feat considering the noise in The Neon Dragon, and thus we had a bit of time to prepare an ambush for them.
Hidden behind a house and several containers the Celestial Guard and their Kuang Shi took ambush positions, with me right beside them, and Kuang Fu Bao, my Pheasant Agent, was in a nearby room to cover our flanks.
We were ready to spring out trap when suddenly a Journalist appeared on a nearby container and started pointing his Camera lights at a Caledonian that had just popped out of a nearby passage way.
Apparently luck wasn’t on our side as the poor Journalist not only managed to pick a Cameronian as his target, but also managed to blind the angry giant half human, which lead to it releasing a loud howl of anger which in return instantly warned all it’s comrades.
Instantly bullets were flying past the journalist’s head from a nearby hidden Cateran Sniper, and even though the Journalist tried to use his Camera Light to blind the Sniper and get to safety, he was eventually hit and ended up lying on the container, slowly bleeding out.
Alarmed by the Cameronian, a bunch of Caledonian Soldiers rushed forward in an attempt to secure the street crossing, but they didn’t make it before I gave the order to attack.
Dashing around the corner I quickly took aim at the Cateran Sniper which had just taken out the poor Journalist, and even though my first salvo failed to hit the surprised Sniper, my second volley tore the drunk Scotsman apart.
I was about to dash around the next corner to confront the Group of Caledonians myself, when my Intercom suddenly crackled and a female voice, coming from one of my Celestial Guards, interrupted my action. “No need to risk this Commander, let me show you how we handle this in the Imperial State Service! Nr. 1, forward and fire!”.
As I stopped my movement I saw one of the Kuang Shi stumble around the corner, outside of the protection that the container he had been hidden behind could have offered the man walked straight into the open and right in front of the angry group of Caledonians.
At first it seemed as though the group was so surprised by his sudden approach that they wouldn’t react to him, but as the Kuang Shi started to raise his Chainrifle and eventually pressed the trigger of it, the Caledonians burst into panicked action. Some of them dashed for cover, while others, including their leader, simply opened fire on the Kuang Shi.
A Smoke Grenade exploded near the Kuang Shi, but before the Smoke covered the entire area for some seconds I could just make out the bullet riddled and burning Kuang Shi dropping dead to the ground, while a bunch of pained shouts indicated that his sacrifice wasn’t for naught.
Just as I was about to dash through the smoke to finish what the Kuang Shi had started, I heard the female voice again, shouting a commanding “Nr. 2, forward through the smoke and fire!”, which sure enough was followed by yet another Kuang Shi stumbling around the corner, through the smoke and straight within line of sight of the Caledonian team. Once again slugs where exchanged, but this time the Kuang Shi remained standing, bleeding from several wounds but refusing to fall.
Uttering a ragged “We are all under the same heaven, stop your resistance and return to the loving fold of the Imperial State…” the Kuang Shi took a few steps towards the group and once again opened fire on them. This time the Kuang Shi was torn apart by bullets just like his comrade before, but the spooky silence and the spreading pool of blood coming from the other side of the firefight made it clear that he had fulfilled his goal this time.
“All clear Commander! Nr. 3 and Nr.4 advance with me!” came the female voice once again as the Celestial guard dashed forward to secure the street crossing, her remaining Kuang Shi following right behind her and securing her flanks.
The battle seemed almost over, but just as they were about to cross the street, the angry formerly blinded Cameronian jumped on the street and opened fire on them with a pair of Chain Rifles. The Kuang Shi and Celestial Guard reacted as one, opening fire on the creature as one, and I myself opened up with my Spitfire as well. As the dust settled one Kuang Shi had died, the other had blown itself up, and the Celestial Guard lay bleeding on the floor, wounded but still alive. The Cameronian was heavily wounded and about to fall as well, and I made sure it stayed down by emptying my clip into him as he fell, before rushing towards the Street Corner myself to secure the Celestial Guard.
A little ways off I could hear a drunk and frustrated “SCREW THIS! I’M NOT DYING FOR SOME WHISKEY! I PREFER SAKE ANYWAYS!!” followed by the sound of running boots, which indicated that the last surviving member of the Caledonian Thugs had decided to turn tail and run away, and as I was about to open my communication channel I was once again disrupted by a friendly “Already on my way Commander!”, this time coming from Kuang Fu Bao, my Pheasant agent who didn’t have much to do in this firefight until now.
Storing my Spitfire on my backwards connector point I bent down to pick up the unconscious Celestial Guard before me, and ordered the rest of my squad to follow Fu Bao as I would return the Celestial Guard to our medical station.
With my first mission completed and one of my soldiers bleeding on my armour in my arms, I thought about what had just happened, and the obviously different methods of the Imperial State Service when compared to the Japanese style of fighting. As I stepped on the elevator platform down to our base I came to the conclusion that it would take a little while to get used to, but that I’d most likely end up liking it here, and as the roof closed on the elevator shaft, blocking out the neon lights from above, I thought to myself “Not bad for a first day…”
This was my very first ISS Game and my first try with my new Table Mat. I think the mat is quite awesome and maybe I’ll do a little Review of it sometime later. It sure is better than the paper mat from the Icestorm Starterbox that I have been using before (although those are awesome for beginning with Infinity!)
This was a very quick game as my wife obviously didn’t expect my Kuang Shi Linkteam to be as devastating as it was, and for me to use them as careless as I have. My Journalist has become a constant nuisence for my wife, and so far it has always easily been worth the 3 points to field it.
As for the ISS…I gotta say I like their style, although I really didn’t realize their true potential until my next game with them! Look forward for that one, it will be quite a show!
I still didn’t have my new terrain painted for this one, but the Army pictures at the beginning were taken just now (several days/weeks after the game) and they show 2 of the awesome new buildings that I got ^^ Can’t wait to play my first battle report on my new table once everything is ready and painted!